Theology Transforming Culture -- By: Paul R. House

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 01:2 (Summer 1997)
Article: Theology Transforming Culture
Author: Paul R. House

Theology Transforming Culture

Paul R. House

Paul R. House, editor of
The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, is
Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of seven volumes, and has contributed several articles to journals and collections of essays

There is no reasonable doubt that theology transforms culture or that culture requires constant renewal. All that remains in question is what sort of theology will impact society the most. Those who reject outright or alter the scriptural portrait of God cannot sufficiently anchor personal and societal ethics in divine reality. At best, they must negotiate social contracts based on what seems viable for the community at the moment. In contrast, those who adhere to the Bible possess the
opportunity to derive lasting opinions about the nature and destiny of human beings, the character and purpose of creation, the proper approach to justice, and the stability of truth versus error from an enduring definition of God. This biblically-informed worldview can in turn define the role of theology in the church, academic circles, and society, thus transforming culture appropriately.

The biblical portrait of God must stand at the forefront of any attempt to transform culture. Scripture teaches that God is the eternal, unaided creator of all that has been made. It asserts that God is the giver of understandable objective standards by which people must live, the savior and judge of sinners, and the one who will bring history to a just end. God’s character is defined as holy (Lv 11:44), righteous and merciful at the same time (Ex 34:6–7), and loving (Hos 11:1–7). God’s being is said to endure intact “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps 90:1–2). Jesus Christ claimed to be one with the Father and Holy Spirit (Jn 15:26–27), which means the Trinity shares these personal traits.

Both the Old and New Testaments state that the documents just cited are God’s word, and that they are therefore perfect and inspired (Ps 19:7–11; 2 Ti 3:16–17). God’s written word has rightly been deemed infallible and inerrant by traditional evangelicals, for it embodies the character of God. The Bible’s authority and accuracy are inextricably linked to what may be said with certainty about God. Simply stated, the scriptures teach that God does not need to improve, for God is ete...

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